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31/05/2017 11:01
Flashback – Six teams qualify to 2018 Men’s World Championship
2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Men

Luxembourg, May 31, 2017. Six teams secured last week their qualification to the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Italy and Bulgaria 2018 and they did so after completing a clean sweep of the matches they contested in their respective pools. There were no major sensations even though Slovenia achieved something truly historic making sure they will compete at the World Championship for the first time since the country’s independence in 1991. The Netherlands will return to the World Championship stage after a long break – their last participation dating to the 2002 edition held in Argentina.

Slovenia completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool C by cruising to a 3-1 victory in their ‘final matchup’ with Belgium’s Red Dragons. The qualification to the World Championship continues Slovenia’s recent success story after they won a historic silver medal at the 2015 EuroVolley and took the top honours from the Group 3 Finals of the FIVB World League in 2016.

France, i.e. the team who beat Slovenia in the gold medal match of the 2015 EuroVolley, dropped no sets at all at their home qualifier in Lyon – and on Sunday they swept aside Germany in three sets too, thus leaving Volleyball legend Andrea Giani with a bitter taste at the end of the first major competition he contested at the helm of the German team.

Even though they played with a relatively young team, Russia confirmed their status of Volleyball powerhouse as they rallied to five consecutive wins in Pool D in Tallinn, including a 3-1 victory over hosts Estonia, thus making sure they will play at the World Championship next year.

A real Volleyball superpower back in the 1990s, the Netherlands have not featured at the World Championship since the 2002 edition held in Argentina. The ‘Lange Mannen’ finally made up for this as they claimed five wins in as many matches they played in Koog aan de Zaan and in Apeldoorn – and actually they secured their qualification to Italy and Bulgaria 2018 after taking two sets from their ‘final match’ with Slovakia on Sunday.

Finland achieved their best World Championship result to date in 2014 when they finished the tournament in Poland in ninth place – and that coincided with their return to the global stage for the first time since 1982. The Finns will not have to wait that long to feel the World Champs atmosphere again as they comfortably won five matches out of five in Pool F to delight the many fans who had travelled to Karlovy Vary to cheer them on.

Serbia were actually the first team to secure their ticket to next year’s World Championship as their leadership in Pool E was untouchable after four days of competition in Zagreb – and they duly finished their campaign in style with five straight wins to confirm their place among the world’s Volleyball elite.

The last stage of European qualifications to the 2018 Men’s World Championship will take place from July 18 to 23 – at a venue to be announced in about two weeks’ time – with Germany, Slovakia, Belgium, Estonia, Belarus and Spain playing a single round robin tournament to determine the eventual winner of that much-coveted ticket to Italy and Bulgaria.

Click here for more info including results, pictures, stats and much more

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